Paul Howard

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Smashwords book reviews by Paul Howard

  • Another Space in Time on April 26, 2013
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    I am not much on metaphysics so my review can be taken with a grain of salt. The story is about a man who is assassinated and awakens to find himself in parallel universe afterlife. For the first third of this book, a lot of time is spent on the cosmology that makes this possible and, to be frank, it almost lost me. But once the action finally gets underway the story becomes a tale of intrigue and pursuit as the central character becomes involved with the machinations of terrorists and soon finds himself a hunted man. There are no rules in fantasy, except that the author remain true to his own set of rules, and Bunning succeeds in doing this consistently throughout his tale. There are some good characters here and a plot to keep the reader's interest, although at times, the dialogue plays more like soliloquy than conversation. Nevertheless, there is a good original story here from an author with the skill to pull it all off and it is worth a read.
  • Dag on May 07, 2013
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    Nicolas Wilson's "Dag" makes for a good, refreshing reading experience in more ways than one. It's clever and brimming with wit, having just enough humor and funny characters to keep the reader interested, as the plot becomes more and more insane. An Agriculture agent gets caught up in a web of intrigue involving genetic experiments with vegetables and soon finds herself with two half-plant babies, an ex-drunk sleeping on her couch, an eccentric old scientist and a boyfriend who is cloned from corn. It is very well written and develops the way a good story should. I understand this is Wilson's first novel. I'm sure it won't be his last. This one's worth a look.
  • Rogue Hunter: Inquest on June 25, 2013
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    I have to admit straight up that I am a real sucker for Space Operas, so it won't surprise you that I enjoyed this book. Based on a Ross Hunter concept with new material of it's own, it is a tale involving a beautiful bounty hunter on a mission to rescue a mass murderer, who also happens to be her former partner, from a death sentence on a planet named New Venus. A world ruled by women where it is death for a man to even go there. But New Venus is at the center of something much bigger, as two galactic empires collide on a course to certain war and are looking for an excuse start the fireworks. I won't play spoiler here but there is plenty of action, some memorable characters, and good, old fashioned interplanetary warfare to keep the reader entertained. True to the form of Space Opera, it unfolds its story and opens the door to even further mayhem in future volumes. A light, undemanding read, it succeeds in delivering a satisfying action tale with plenty of action, galactic politics, secret weapons and warlike characters to fill the dark recesses.
  • Reality Challenged on July 08, 2013
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    When I first started reading this book I didn't know what to expect. But this isn't the kind of story you can just classify and let it go at that. It has a shipload of very colorful and eccentric characters, including an enormous, armored alien with a passion for reciting bizarre poetry. A tough mercenary human he calls his pet, and a blue haired teen-age girl who has psychic abilities that make it possible to move between universes with her mind. Now all of this is colorful in itself, but there is a lot of story here, spread out over many universes and a lot of characters with separate story lines that all come together into a complete whole. I never play spoiler so I will leave out the details in favor of the overall impression that this book creates. It is a funny, irreverent and witty book that has some laugh out loud moments and character interactions. At it's core is a pretty good science fiction yarn that has meat on the bone and more than enough depth to keep even the most demanding reader interested. I enjoyed the book and thought that it paid off very well at the end. There is enough material to spawn a whole series of novels and my understanding is that there are more in the offing. Good! I look forward to reading the next one.
  • Selected Short Stories Featuring Ghost Dust on Aug. 01, 2013
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    This collection of short stories is both entertaining and eclectic, with tales ranging from an off-beat Detective Story to Science fiction. Wilson's characters are interesting and have a style to them, which changes from story to story. Some of his action sequences are very intense, especially in "Prisoners of War", where the descriptions are as brutal as the people they involve. But it is told with style and purpose and makes for a good read. My favorite involved a diver who was studying the Giant Squid, only to find there is something more to them than anyone expected. I found myself wishing there was more of it, although a good should story really should leave the reader hungry for more. Another, "The Ghost Club", has an Edwin Droodish quality that I found quite refreshing. (I almost expected Doyle and Houdini to find themselves presented with the same dilemma.) All in all, I recommend this book to anybody who likes a well-written, stylized collection of short stories with a kind of twist to them